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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Science & Society

From funding decisions to scientific fraud, a wide range of societal factors shape autism research.

February 2012

Robot renaissance

by  /  17 February 2012

Engineers have debuted several new robots to help children with autism, including a boy that can sense when it’s touched, a female head that expresses a wide range of emotions and a low-cost fuzzy penguin that can track a child’s eye movements.


Human neuron model tests function of autism-linked genes

by  /  16 February 2012

Simulating neuronal development in culture with cells derived from human brain tissue offers a new way to study the function of autism-linked genes, according to research published in the February issue of Molecular Psychiatry.


Genetics: Autism, Tourette syndrome genes overlap

by  /  15 February 2012

Genes implicated in Tourette syndrome overlap with those involved in autism, according to an analysis of rare DNA duplications and deletions in people with the syndrome, published in the March issue of Biological Psychiatry.


Brain game

by  /  14 February 2012

A new website invites the public to help map the ‘connectome,’ the pattern of connections among all the neurons in our brain.


Lasting connections

by  /  10 February 2012

What makes humans so different from our primate cousins? The answer may lie in unique patterns of gene expression soon after birth, primarily in genes required to form the junctions between neurons.

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Microscope reveals nanoscale detail in live mouse brains

by  /  8 February 2012

A new microscope allows researchers to capture the movement of tiny signal-receiving branches in the brains of adult mice at the nanoscale level. The results were published 3 February in Science.


Cognition and behavior: Asperger brains similar across sexes

by  /  8 February 2012

The brains of men and women with Asperger syndrome are more similar than are those of male and female controls, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Neuroradiology. The results lend support to the ‘extreme male brain’ theory of autism, the researchers say.

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Autism in Africa

by  /  7 February 2012

In Africa, children with autism tend to be diagnosed much later, and are more likely to be nonverbal, than their counterparts in the U.S., according to a new review.


Insights for autism from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

by  /  7 February 2012

Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder show genetic and neurobiological overlap, which may provide clues to the origin of both disorders, says Joel Nigg.


Lip reading

by  /  3 February 2012

As babies are learning to talk, they shift their focus from speakers’ eyes to their lips, according to a new study that could inform efforts to find an early predictor of autism.